Seniors as opposed to elders.

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by ETinCYQX, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Gander
    Just a quick question. How important is age in Taekwondo? Here's an example.

    I'm 19, dan grade, instructor. If a person is 42 and a keup grade student, but not my own student, in a social circumstance related to Taekwondo, should I be treated as senior as I would be with a keup grade my own age, or should his age be considered? I know in class, I am senior by virtue of my grade, but I am talking about a circumstance similar to the one mastercole outlined in the "drinking alcohol in front of seniors" thread. Both in this situation are Canadian.

    There are many many people who are both my senior and my elder, lots of them on this board, and a few in particular who are largely responsible for my attitude towards Kukkiwon in general. Interested in all of your opinions, and if there's a clear guideline for this.
     
  2. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Gander
    There's a couple people on this board who know me personally; I want to make this very very clear that this is entirely hypothetical and not the result of any perceived slight or anything like that. The entire federation has been very friendly and welcoming since I started teaching. I'm just wondering about the dynamic implied here. :)
     
  3. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    Messages:
    4,378
    Likes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You would be the senior in all taekwondo situations, including interacting on message boards. And depends on your kwan, whether you are senior because of your rank or your start date. Sometimes the two are not the same.
     
  4. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Messages:
    2,200
    Likes Received:
    48
    Trophy Points:
    108
    Location:
    australia
    We seem do things differently in a lot of ways from what I can gather reading these threads, BUT, in a social setting we consider it "belts are off" and all are even. We go out for korean food regularly as a club and once belts are off everyone is even, no one is senior. Actually, if anything it goes more on age than tkd rank. That changes in the dojang obviously where anyone of a higher rank is your senior. Its often easier said than done though. One of my employees is a 3rd dan (grading for 4th next month), and in class he is clearly my senior and has been my instructor at times, then the next day we are at work and Im his boss. That has had a wierd feel to it at times.
     
  5. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Gander
    Thats what I thought. I'm not terribly concerned with imposing seniority on anyone, I was just curious. I do find some older color belts a little patronizing at times which irritates me but I try not to get too worked up over it.

    In NL we go by rank, not start date, and if rank is equal then age is considered.

    I have no idea what Kwan I would be now to be honest. About all I know is my GM is Woo Yung Jung in Halifax. Can't find any reference to any Kwan for him.
     
  6. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Gander
    In a social setting for us the hierarchy is still generally there, particularly when there's students around. I've been treated more and more like an instructor lately, which is nice, and that comes with a bit less formality than a student/instructor relationship.
     
  7. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Messages:
    2,200
    Likes Received:
    48
    Trophy Points:
    108
    Location:
    australia
    The first time I went out drinking with my original instructor (6th dan), I motioned for him to drink first before me. He asked why and I said "you are my senior" and he actually seemed a bit offended, and said "belts are off, we are all even here", so I dont tend to do that anymore.
     
  8. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Messages:
    2,849
    Likes Received:
    470
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Sometimes social situations are social yet still TKD populated. In that situation TKD etiquette still aplies. Does your TKD senior lose his rank or seniority if they take their belt off.

    Now, in other situiations, i.e. business I would likely ask the Senior rank their preference. It would be extremely awkward to use their honorifics and formalities with non TKD people around.
    FWIW General Choi's text states that one needs to respect your Seniors in rank and age.
     
  9. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,971
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    108
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    As puunui has already mentioned, all things TKD you are his senior, but outside of that you are his junior and must act accordingly. In an outside social setting that involved TKD people I would still give a bit of leeway to them since they are twice your age. You just have to learn to judge the balance between the two.

    When I did business in Korea I faced this type of situation often. I was considered senior by my job title but was still younger than most in my field. When we were placed in social situations I used the honorifics accordingly since they were older than me, however, they would also use honorifics due to my position. Eventually, with enough soju, we agreed to drop the honorifics all together. :)
     
  10. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Messages:
    14,587
    Likes Received:
    2,595
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Michigan
    I'm Isshin-Ryu, not TKD, but my situation is similar (but reversed). I am 50 and many (nearly all) of my seniors in the dojo are quite a bit younger than me. In the dojo, they are addressed by me with respect and formality, and they treat me with the same respect and formality they would give any other student. Outside the dojo, I am elder than most of them and given appropriate respect based on that. I strive to never show disrespect to a senior in the dojo, even if they are decades younger than I am. They are still my seniors, and have earned that respect.
     
  11. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    1,913
    Likes Received:
    442
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Germany
    I try to start out by giving other people an equally high level of respect, regardless of who they are. But it's not always that easy to do. Some people are easier to respect than others. Those who have lost my respect, have really done something pretty special to earn that.
     
  12. StudentCarl

    StudentCarl 3rd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Messages:
    935
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Grand Haven, MI
    In the dojang, rank trumps age. Outside, I always respect both unless the recipient directs otherwise. When in doubt, more formal respect is right. I give deference to my rank seniors, but only see age seniors at tournaments. I've seen good and bad in "higher" ranked younger people. Some are caught up in their rank and seek opportunities to boss people around. Some have humility and treat all with respect yet act with the authority of their rank. I am courteous and deferential to both, but I respect the latter. I suppose there will always be some who are insecure and worried about status and rank. It has a place, but I think it's more a trap for those who lack maturity.
     
  13. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    1,816
    Likes Received:
    167
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Location:
    Stevenage, Herts, UK
    I'm interested in feedback on my reply; but basically I was told many years ago that this was wrong from a Korean etiquette point of view. Korean etiquette is centred around levels and senior/junior relationships. They expect that juniors show more respect to seniors. Therefore if you treat a junior with the same respect as you do a senior, you are effectively disrespecting the senior.

    I was told this after a discussion about giving/accepting things with two hands. I was giving a paddle to my juniors with two hands (or one hand under the right elbow) as I was taught to give things in Taekwondo, but I was told that this is disrespectful to my seniors in treating them the same way. I guess when I learnt to give things respectfully I was a junior to everyone and no-one told me at some point when I started having juniors that I should treat them differently. I understood this was the Taekwondo/Korean way of giving things, and it was never explained that it's the Korean way of giving things to seniors.

    Anyway, where I'm interested in feedback is - is my current understanding of Korean etiquette in this matter correct? ETinCYQX, if this is dragging the topic too far off-topic (I think it's related to the discussion at hand) let me know and I'll create a new topic.
     
  14. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    17,299
    Likes Received:
    3,380
    Trophy Points:
    308
    Location:
    Covington, WA
    While some people respect rank for itself, most don't. You're very young and that's just the way it goes. People will react to you as a person, and your age, integrity, skill and dozens of other factors will come into play. Its a good idea, IMO, to recognize this.
     
  15. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Gander
    I'm probably the worst offender on Martial Talk for dragging things off topic. It's related pretty closely anyway.

    I treat my juniors largely the way they treat me. Formality is important to me especially since my immediate family is junior to me in the dojang and it'd be an impossibly frustrating dynamic without a little formality to help things along. Actually I insist too that anyone helping me teach, regardless of rank, is referred to by their last name. When I taught for my last instructor, I went by "Coach" rather than "Instructor". I liked that, I tend to go by it now. I use Assistant Instructor or simply Sir or Ma'am for my juniors when they teach for me.
     
  16. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Gander
    Most I interact with mean well, occasionally someone is patronizing which does irritate me. I dismiss it as innocent and unintentional in a social context. I also try not to compensate for my age by being a hardass as I think that'd be counterproductive. In a class situation like I said above I approach things fairly firmly and formally so that helps a bit too, by taking a distinct "black belt"/"instructor" role within the gym.

    Admittedly I have a high opinion of myself sometimes and tend to come across as either very confident or cocky, depending on how charitable the observer wants to be ;). I am also very sure my skill confirms me as where I should be with regards to rank, I don't think I'm exceptional or anything but I absolutely consider myself a "good" black belt. Maybe I shouldn't, who knows. ;)
     
  17. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    1,913
    Likes Received:
    442
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    Germany
    I wasn't thinking from a Korean point of view, particularly. I was thinking more from the point of view that it works better for me as a life approach, just like trusting everybody unless they give you a reason not to trust them.

    I don't think it disrespectful to the senior to treat everyone the same, as long as that treatment is respectful. I'd say as long as respect is present, then nobody has a right to be offended. Maybe a senior who would see that as a negative quality might not be acting in a way that propogates mutual respect?
     
  18. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    1,816
    Likes Received:
    167
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Location:
    Stevenage, Herts, UK
    Outside of Taekwondo, I agree with you. Everyone gets a good helping of respect unless they do something (positive or negative) to affect their helping size ;-)

    Within Taekwondo though I try to follow the customs of the country it's from as best I can/understand them. The same applies to everything, having spent this week so far in Israel, I'm trying as best I can understand them to follow their conventions and do as they do. Most of the things are minor, but for example today was National Holocaust Remembrance Day and there was a 2 minutes silence at 10am. While I think the Holocaust was a sad day, I wouldn't normally be silent at home for this particular day/time. As I'm in Israel I do as they do.

    I think everyone has a right to feel however they want (if they want to take offence, that's their business) it just depends how much I care about their feelings as to whether I will adjust my behaviour to reduce their offence. Within Taekwondo, I do care how my seniors feel so I do my best not to cause offence.
     
  19. Gemini

    Gemini Senior Master

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Messages:
    3,546
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    158
    Location:
    The Desert
    As it was explained to me, this is why there's a minimum age limit for master. It's human nature for us old guys to turn up our noses at younger guys. After all, you couldn't possible have learned enough of life experience to earn our respect, right?

    Example: When I started, I clashed with my instructor because of cultural differences, which I think is fairly common. In my opinion (like most, being a noob and completely unaware of Korean culture), he, being younger than me, should have treated me with more respect simply because I was his elder. Common in our society, right? He thought, because of his rank, that he should have been treated with respect as senior, which proved difficult because I thought he was a green behind the ears cocky punk. Fast forward a few weeks, he had earned my respect by demonstrating his ability to execute technique and more importantly, to teach me to. He became my equal. Then he became my senior...but he had to earn it, and he did.

    Point is, as you've already stated, don't read too much into the older attitudes. Your excellence will earn their respect if it's warranted. We just are sometimes a little slow on the uptake. For what it's worth, even though I don't know you personally, you've earned my respect just by the way you conduct yourself on this board.
     
  20. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Gander
    Thank you Gemini, your endorsement means a lot.

    I really do think the patronization I do get is unintentional for the most part; it took me a while to be taken seriously which I expected and don't mind. I think I'm there now though. I've taught adults since who took everything I said to heart, mainly because I was convinced of it myself.123
     
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page